2001-07-21 / Editorial/Opinion

Teachers Should Be Literate in English

Teachers Should Be Literate in English

The New York Post recently highlighted a problem that has been plaguing the New York City Public Schools for several years. There are hundreds of teachers in our classrooms that are not literate in English. Some will ask the question, how can that be? The answer to that question is a fairly simple one: blame the politically correct and the teacher’s union. The politically correct forced the city to make "diversity" its major goal rather than excellence. The politically correct forced the city to bring in thousands of Bilingual teachers, most of whom were literate in their home language, but illiterate in English and devoid of any sense of American history or culture. Then the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) codified those political correct notions and made them part of the way teachers were screened and vetted. At one time, teachers had to take a series of examinations prior to entering a classroom. Perspective teachers had to take a test of written English. They had to pass an interview process in which they had to answer questions in proper English. They had to take a test in their subject area and they had to teach a class in front of a number of examiners. That is no longer true. The two English tests were thrown out with UFT backing because they were "unfair to minority and immigrant groups." The fact that students must understand what their teacher is saying and writing had no bearing on the decision to do away with those tests. Now we have one district saying that it is no longer "focusing on an applicant’s formal training and education," but on the applicant’s "sensitivity and nurturing personality." Is it any wonder why the system is failing? We must go back to both a verbal and a written test in English. If the system is to survive, it must have teachers that can communicate to students, and who can speak and write English in a literate manner. That should not be too much for parents to ask of the system in which they are entrusting their children.

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